Pinocchio Movie Puppet Made By Belfast Firm With Laser Metal 3D Printing

Published on March 4, 2023 by Claire S.

Have you watched any movies lately? If so, you may have seen the new Pinocchio movie, released in December 2022 by director Guillermo del Toro – and if not, let us tell you why you should! The creation of the puppets for this stop-motion animation adventure was one which was actually made easier by using 3D printing technologies for Pinocchio himself. 

The Pinnochio puppet was made using 3D printing by Laser Prototype Europe Ltd (LPE), a firm based in East Belfast in the UK and which happens to be the UK and Ireland’s longest running rapid prototyping service bureau. Perhaps this accolade is why the company was approached by the animation studio Mackinnon and Saunders, who tasked them with using metal 3D printing (which could be DMLS or SLM) to make the fascinating creation. 

LPE made the Pinocchio puppet with 3D printing

The team in the lab in 2015 (Photo credit: Laser Prototypes Europe)

LPE’s director, Campbell Evans, explained the finished product thus: “You can see it’s very fine featured. We have high-resolution metal printers that can actually produce these fine definition parts…We did the back plate, we did the front breast plate and we did all the legs and joints and so on which are all interconnected” As well as being finely detailed, the parts also needed to fit well together to create a moving puppet. The firm made sure to print the parts to allow them to articulate together to create a high-quality finished product. This Pinocchio adventure was particularly special for LPE because it is believed to be the first example of metal 3D printed puppets being used in this type of movie.

This of course is not the first time that 3D printing has shown up on the silver screen. You might be reminded of Laika Studios’ work on ‘Coraline’; the company used 3D printing to make the dolls’ faces. Aside from making models and puppets, additive manufacturing can also make whole props, as was the case for the robotic owl made for the movie on Hulu entitled ‘It’s A Wonderful Binge’. In terms of costume design, the Black Panther movie featured a 3D printed crown and necklace designed by Austrian Julia Koerner. 

This robotic owl was made by Budmen for ‘It’s a Wonderful Binge’. (photo credit: Budmen Industries)

In general, 3D printing is favored in the film industry for its ability to create parts in a short time frame, with a more complex geometry than that which is accessible using conventional methods. The technology is also useful for creating multiples of parts for prototyping or testing of ideas. Naturally, all of these characteristics are important in a highly creative endeavor which is simultaneously under significant time pressure, like a movie!

What do you think of this use of 3D printing in the Pinocchio movie? Let us know in a comment below or on our LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter pages! Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly Newsletter here, the latest 3D printing news straight to your inbox! You can also find all our videos on our YouTube channel.

Share Your Thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay Updated
Every wednesday, receive a recap of the latest 3D printing news straight to your inbox.